CO Health-Exchange Director Indicted for Fraud and Theft

“We thoroughly vetted her,” State health care exchange officials claimed after their Connect for Health Colorado director  was indicted for stealing from her last employer.

51 year old Christa Ann McClure was indicted on January 16, on 8 counts of theft and fraud from a nonprofit housing agency in Billings, and she didn’t let her current employer know about it until  after the story broke in Montana media.

Connect for Health spokesman Ben Davis said in a telephone interview that they had “performed a criminal background check and checked references before hiring McClure in March.”

Via The Denver Post:

“She was completely clean,” he said. Her position as executive director of Housing Montana of Billings, he said, made her well-qualified for her post as Connect for Health’s director of partner engagement — she was liaison with state and federal partners, such as Medicaid officials. The job pays $130,000 a year.

The charges against her are “very serious, and we are taking this very seriously,” Davis said.

The allegations are now part of a scandal-riddled narrative for federal and state health insurance exchanges — under the microscope of political opponents looking for missteps, local political and communications consultants said.

“This simply contributes to the fact that the overall implementation of health-insurance reform has been troubled by an endless series of embarrassments,” said political analyst Floyd Ciruli. “This can’t help.”

McClure has been released pending trial, and is facing  potential penalties of five, 10 or 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the counts in the  indictment against her.

The 12-page indictment alleges that, while serving as executive director of the federally funded Housing Montana, McClure, between 2008 and 2010, paid herself “significant sums” for consulting services, although she was already on the payroll as a full-time employee.

She also made payments to her family and used federal money for personal travel, to pay family bills and to buy consulting services, the indictment alleges.

She also is accused of charging homeowners for a $750 warranty that did not exist, converting a laptop for personal use, inflating the hours she was to be compensated and writing herself a $21,000 check to which she was not entitled.

The indictment did not specify the total amount she allegedly embezzled.

McClure had oversight of a $514,000 federal rural development grant to Housing Montana to build 22 homes for low-income residents.

Anyone surprised that a system that is run by left-wing agitators is already fraught with corruption and fraud? Get ready for many more stories like this one.

Hat tip: NRO

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Obama? Legal Experts Weigh in (Video)

The legal scholar who last December warned of the “rise of an uber-presidency” at a  House Oversight hearing about Obama’s executive overreach, reiterated his concerns Wednesday on “The Kelly File,” calling Obama’s habit of bypassing Congress to enact legislation is “a very dangerous thing.”

Via The Federalist Papers:

“The framers created a system that was designed to avoid one principle thing, and that’s the concentration of power in any one branch, because that balancing between these branches in a fixed orbit is not only what gives stability to our system, but protects us against authoritarian power, protects civil liberties from abuse,” Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University Law School, told host Megyn Kelly. “And what we’ve been seeing is the shift of gravity in that system in a very dangerous way that makes it unstable.”

Turley said his opposition is not due to the president’s politics.

“I happen to agree with many of President Obama’s policies,” he said. “But in our system, it’s often as important about how you do as what you do.”

I’m astonished at the passivity of the Republicans.

Jonathan Turley’s blog is here.

Via White House Dossier, another law professor weighed in on the argument that the Treasury Dept.  has authority to extend statutory deadlines in order to provide “transition relief” to those affected by laws.

Turns out it’s not okay.

… according to Constitutional law professor Jonathan Adler, writing in the Washington Posts Volokh Conspiracy blog, the Obamacare delay is certainly illegal:

Whatever the stated reason for the new delay, it is illegal. The text of the PPACA is quite clear. The text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides that the employer mandate provisions “shall apply” after December 31, 2013. The Treasury Department claims that it has broad authority to offer “transition relief” in implementing the law. That may often be true, but not here.

The language of the statute is clear, and it is well established that when Congress enacts explicit deadlines into federal statutes, without also providing authority to waive or delay such deadlines, federal agencies are obligated to stay on schedule. So, for instance, federal courts routinely force the Environmental Protection Agency to act when it misses deadlines and environmentalist groups file suit.

Even if we don’t take Adler’s word for it that you can’t waive deadlines without statutory authority, the delay seems a clear violation of the Constitution’s prescription that the president shall “take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

Delaying a mandate for two years that employers have already known about for four years is not “faithfully” executing anything. It’s an abuse, particularly given that it delays the mandate until January 2016 and has the political motive of keeping employer compliance from becoming a problem during the 2014 election.

Last month, Megyn Kelly asked Senator McConnell if a better remedy than fighting Obama in the courts might be to ‘try to impeach him.’

Former Federal Prosecutor Andrew McCarthy wrote a column at National Review Online, last November, noting that Obama having committed serial fraud and multiple misrepresentations, would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law if he had been in private business. He went on the Kelly File to argue his case.

He said the remedy to rein in executive abuses such as we’ve seen, is impeachment, but there has to be a much larger public outcry about the abuse, for there to be the political will to do it.

McCarthy weighed in on the latest rewrite of the Employer Mandate at NRO: Obama Adds Irrationality To Lawlessness — While Threatening Prosecution:

What is illegal and irrational is not a company’s commonsense deliberation over its costs, it is Obama’s edict. And look what attends this one: criminal prosecution if Obama’s Justice Department decides the business has falsely certified that its staffing decision was not motivated by Obamacare.

Think about that for a second. The waiver is illegal. It flouts the language of theObamacare statute, under which the employer mandate is required already to have been implemented by now. There is nothing in the law that empowers Obama to waive the mandate, much less to attach lawless conditions to such a lawless waiver. A business that seeks the waiver and fails to pay the mandated tax (in lieu of providing the required coverage) is in violation of federal statutory law, regardless of its compliance with Obama’s outlaw edict. The payments required by the statute, after all, are owed to the public, not to Obama – he’s got no authority to deprive the government of these funds just because it would harm Democrats to collect them.

Yet, Obama proclaims his illegal waiver with impunity – Congress apparently unwilling to stop him. You, on the other hand, will be prosecuted for breaking the “law” if you do not comply to Obama’s satisfaction with the illegal and irrational condition he has unilaterally placed on his illegal waiver.

Got that?

 

 

I’m just wondering what – if anything – Republicans plan to do about this out of control little dictator we have on our hands.

Hat tip: Geo.